Every year, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association provides college scholarships for talented and worthy students seeking careers in wood technology, machinery and related fields. Academic success, interest, special abilities and other factors are considered by judges to select their choice of scholarship recipients, which are chosen by the Board of Trustees for the WMIA Educational Foundation.

Some past scholarship recipients go on to extremely productive careers in the woodworking industry. Thomas W. Tuck III, product manager and distribution manager at Casadei Busellato, is one example. Tuck began his foray into woodworking his junior year at Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough, NC, which was a WoodLINKS USA site school. He was immediately intrigued.

“Building something, and having that sense of accomplishment was very attractive to me,” says Tuck. “We, as a class, went to TSI Expos, AWFS, IWF, and those trips exposed me to an industry that was surely under the radar in the ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ category.”

SCHOLARSHIP INFO

WMIA scholarships are available to any student or college-bound individual interested in studying wood technology, machinery or related fields. Information and an application form, can be found at WMIA.org.

The application form and attachments, should be sent to:

WMIA Scholarship
WMIA Educational Foundation
27 Main St., Ste. One,
New Milford, CT, 06776

The attachments should include:

• A one-page letter about your aspirations and what qualifies you as a scholarship candidate.
• A transcript of grades and credits.
• A letter of recommendation from an employer or other professional with whom you have worked.
• A recommendation from a teacher or other educational professional.

The WMIA Educational Foundation is supported by contributions from business groups and individuals in the woodworking industry, and by the International Woodworking Fair.

In addition to his scholarship from WMIA, Tuck also received scholarships from AWFS, WoodWork Institute and the American Home Furnishings Alliance.

Tuck attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where he graduated with a B.A. in Industrial Technology – Concentration in Furniture Manufacturing, and a B.S. in Business Administration – Management. While in school, Tuck interned with the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) of Commerce, CA, and also was involved with WoodLINKS, completing an internship with the president at the time, Keith Malmstadt at Great Lake Woods. He has continued his relationship with WoodLINKS USA, including having served on its board of directors in 2008 while working as the marketing coordinator for SCM Group USA.

“The WMIA scholarship, in addition to being financially rewarding in assisting to pay for my education, was a great networking opportunity,” Tuck says.

While the woodworking industry offers a great career path, there still exists a need to promote this fact to young people. Until the industry takes a stance to change that, Tuck says, there will be a problem finding young, motivated, educated people to fill positions, whether in wood manufacturing or machinery sales.

“To get young people into this industry, we have to get more involved in education, and not by just writing a check or sending free sandpaper,” says Tuck. “We need to get on the front lines and expose students to the potential they can have in an industry that you can either physically build a product, or help customers build their business, building products. It is a very wise career choice for young people to look at because there is a lot of opportunity to grow professionally, as the main age group, at least on the machinery side of things, is 45-65…so in the next few years there will be many, many job opportunities.”

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